Darren Aronofsky (director)
15 September 2018 (released)
07 September 2017
I’m not entirely sure where to start with this film, other than to say it’s a film that you should go and see and whether you like this film or hate this film, it will be unlike anything you are likely to ever see. It goes from a little off to what I can only assume was Aronofsky’s crazy dream one night. It starts with a claustrophobic nervy first act into continuously rising insanity. A haunted house littered with stories from the Old Testament such as the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel and an idea of how celebrity worship can go very wrong.
None of the characters in the film are given names but are given titles, mother, Him, Man and Woman which did set off a few alarm bells but could just as easily be missed. It’s centred in a single location, a large isolated house that the Mother character (Jennifer Lawrence) is rebuilding after a fire, the same house that her husband, Him (Javier Bardem) previously owned. The 20 year age difference is mentioned in the film and is deliberate plot point in the film. Bardem plays the villain so well it is hard not to see him that way to begin with but in this he is a struggling poet and in truth, just a man. They have a visitor to their house, Man (Ed Harris) who is invited to stay the night and is then joined the following morning by his wife, Woman (Michelle Pfeiffer), both times they are invited to stay by Bardem and both times you get shots of Lawrence looking concerned.
The handheld camera style follows Lawrence for the entire film, moving throughout the house as if you are attached to her by a piece of string. Almost every shot is either a close up of Lawrence of a wider view from her perspective. This does give an interesting insight into her fairly insecure character’s life and you do get a sense of how she is feeling as her life begins to fall apart around her. In most films youth is shown as a positive but here it is the weakness and brings misery with the Mother character showing less social confidence from the start.
One of the things that really helps set the atmosphere in the film is the lack of music score. You hear every footstep, every knock on the door and every whisper around you from Lawrence’s perspective. I’m not 100% sure what to make of this film and I think it will take at least another viewing before I can determine that but if nothing else this will be a film that will raise questions about deeper meaning in lectures at College’s and University’s for years to come.